Boat nerd

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The boatnerd corporation, a registered not for profit corporation, circulates information about vessels that ply the North American Great Lakes.[1][2] When Acheson Ventures provided space for a headquarters for the organization in their Maritime Center overlooking the St Clair River, they called boatnerd "the most widely-used website for Great Lakes maritime information."[3] Reporters consider the boatnerd site reliable enough that they cite or quote it by name in their articles.[4][5][6][7]

The organization was profiled by the Globe and Mail in 2008.[8] The organization holds annual festivals, at sites of interest to those interested in maritime commerce on the Great Lakes. The Globe profiled boatnerd when the 2008 festival was held in a shipyard in Port Colborne, Ontario, where the Calumet, an 80-year-old lake freighter was being scrapped. According to the Globe and Mail the site gets over 20 million page views a month. According to the Globe and Mail the site's volunteers often report breaking news prior to its announcement by official authorities. The Globe quoted a volunteer who described how, while professional mariners kidded the volunteers, they obviously monitored it, because they could count on regular mariners promptly informing them when they had made a mistake.

The organization is large enough to maintain an office in Port Huron, Michigan, overlooking the confluence of the St Clair and Black Rivers.[3][9] The site went online in 1995, and became a registered not for profit corporation in 2006, under the name Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online.[2]

Travel writer Bob Boughner, reporting in the Chatham Daily News, in December 2014, that "The average person, like myself, would have no idea where the ships were headed or what they were carrying if it wasn't for a relatively new organization headquartered in Port Huron, Mich., known as"[10]

The organization provides unusual prizes through fund-raising raffles.[11] Various lake freighters were built with an "owner's suite". These suites are rarely used today, but the organization has been able to convince shipping companies to make cruises onboard a working lake freighter, in the owner's suite, available to donors. 76 donors have won Great Lake freighter cruises.


  1. Jeff Jones. Boat nerd reveals childhood obsession, Fort Wayne Daily News, 2013-03-13. “ is a Web site created by people who know everything there is to know about the freighters sailing on the Great Lakes.”
  2. 2.0 2.1 Campaign for boatnerd, Boatnerd.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Visit the Maritime Center at Vantage Point!, Acheson Ventures. Retrieved on 2013-11-21. “It is the most widely-used website for Great Lakes maritime information.”
  4. James Murray. "Lake Superior Storm Claimed Edmund Fitzgerald: The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald", netnewsledger, 2013-11-09. “The website ‘Boatnerd’ states, “The Fitzgerald cleared Superior, Wisconsin, on her last trip on November 9, 1975, with a cargo of 26,116 tons of taconite pellets consigned to Detroit.”
  5. Mary Kunz Goldman. Tough times for Great Lakes shipping, Buffalo News, 2010-09-12. Retrieved on 2013-11-25. “The history of the great ships thrives on a Web site called Brian Wroblewski, the site's Buffalo correspondent, photographs boats in Buffalo and predicts their arrivals and departures.”
  6. Don Lee. Maumee River busy with new project, freighter action, Toledo Free Press, 2014-09-26. Retrieved on 2015-01-01. “Cornelius, a 680-foot, self-unloading bulk freighter, was built in Toledo and launched in 1973 as the Roger M. Kyes, the name she had until 1989. She is the largest ship to have been built in Toledo, and at the time of her launch was the first new vessel to have been built at the Toledo shipyard since 1959, according to the Great Lakes site”
  7. Despite the name, this website is for anyone but nerds, Daily Tribune, 2010-04-25. Retrieved on 2015-06-22. “"It's gotten huge. We get people from all over the world but primarily the United States and Canada," said LeLievre. "The website contains everything you ever wanted to know about Great Lakes and Seaway shipping from information about the ships themselves to a news page that is updated every day. There are port arrivals and departures to links to live cameras that show shipping scenes around the world," he continued.”
  8. Patrick White. Nerds ahoy, Globe and Mail, 2008-09-26. “To one of the 30,000 people who call up every day, this scrapyard is a museum in a state of perpetual self-destruction.”
  9. World Headquarters at Vantage Point, Port Huron, Michigan, Boatnerd. Retrieved on 2013-11-21. “ drops out of cyberspace and takes up a physical presence in Port Huron, Michigan. Our World Headquarters is based in Port Huron on the St. Clair River where it meets the Black River.”
  10. Bob Boughner. Travel writer finds contentment on St. Clair River 3, Chatham Daily News, 2014-12-05. “In addition to the valuable marine information provided by, there is a booklet called Know Your Ships - which is a yearly guide devoted to the marine shipping industry - and a must for anyone living along the river.”
  11. Cruise the Great Lakes on a Working Freighter, Boatnerd. Retrieved on 2013-11-21.